What is a worm count and why should you do one?

Friday, 23 July 2021  |  Kate

A worm egg count and a lungworm / heartworm screen are faecal (poo) tests which look at the worm burden of your dog. We send you a kit which you use to send a sample of your dog’s poo to the lab. The lab analyses the sample and sends you the results via email.

The test results will tell you; what type of worms your dog has; an estimate of how many worms are present, if any; if your dog needs worming. How well your worming schedule is working. Should you have a positive result the lab will also advise you of any treatment they may recommend.

The benefits of doing a worm count.

You should consider testing for worms:

  • If you raw feed your dogs.
  • If you only want to treat your dog when worms are present.
  • If you don’t worm your dog at all.
  • To make sure your current wormer is working.
  • If you have foxes or hedgehogs in your area (fox lungworm).
  • If your dog likes to scavenge or lick grass.
  • Or they are known to take a fancy to dead birds and animals.

Then a wormcount is crucial.

Which worms are tested for?

There are two types of test depending on what’s being tested for - a worm count, and a lungworm/heartworm screen.

Why two tests?

The worm egg kit tests for eggs, whereas the lungworm screen tests for larvae and takes longer.

The worm egg count tests for:

  • Tapeworm
  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Whipworm
  • Coccidia
  • Giardia (a cyst not a worm)

The lungworm kit tests for:

  • Canine lungworm (two types)
  • Heartworm
  • Fox lungworm
  • Hedgehog lungworm

Lungworm is particularly nasty, difficult to treat if left undetected, and on the increase in the UK.

Do a combined test.

By far our most popular product, and with good reason. To cover all your bases we recommend doing the two tests together - worm, and lungworm at the same time. It's crucial if you don't worm your dog, raw feed, or have a scavenger who likes to rummage around in dead animals, or fox poo. You also save yourself £5 when buying the bundle instead of separate kits.

How to do a worm egg count - it’s really easy.

Buy one, or both kits from us at Worm Counts for Dogs (the kits fit through your letterbox), and follow the instructions. Everything you need, including gloves, is in the kit. You literally don’t have to get your hands dirty. The postage and lab fees are all included in the price of the kit.

Worm count kit.

Collect a sample of one days poo using the spoon provided, put the poo into the compostable bag and FREEPOST it to the lab in the envelope included. The kit will fit into any post box. Your results will be emailed to you within 24 hours of receipt at the lab in a clear and easy to understand format (see below) along with any recommendations.

Lungworm kit. 

The same method as the worm count kit except you collect one sample per day for three days. Put all three samples into the bag and send it off in the FREEPOST envelope. Keep samples from days one and two somewhere cool and shady. It’s not necessary to keep them in your fridge.

Our lab

Feclab is our preferred accredited diagnostic laboratory of choice. They are SQP, AMTRA and NOAH accredited.

Don’t wait for the external signs your dogs may have worms because the worm burden by then will be significant. However...

Signs your dog may have worms:

  • Licking at their back end
  • Dry fur
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Always hungry
  • Weight loss
  • Belly tender to the touch
  • Diarrhoea

How often should you test for worms?

It’s recommended to test four times a year, every three months. If you routinely worm your dog wait, a minimum of 14 days before doing a wormcount or lungworm screen to allow for a reliable result.